The benefits of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

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australia exports & ftas

At 2M, we always encourage our export clients to tell us if they run into any issues or have challenges in doing business in a certain market or which particular market access benefits are most important to them. Free trade agreements are international treaties that reduce barriers to trade and investment. Australia has FTAs in force with NZ, Singapore, US, Thailand, Chile, ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and the Transpacific Partnership concluded but not in force yet.

However, FTAs cover far more than tariffs.

What are FTAs for?

FTAs can help address things like:

  • business visas
  • the ability to establish an office
  • the right to deliver services
  • mutual recognition of qualifications
  • product standards
  • intellectual property rights
  • overcoming investment restrictions
  • where you are allowed to store data.

The Export Council of Australia’s role

The Export Council of Australia advocates strongly for the government to make sure it enforces the rights Australia has negotiated under our existing FTAs, and improve Australian market access through the regular review of those FTAs.

Together, all of us exporters, can make a difference in those negotiations if we let them know what we require and where we currently have challenges in our international business activities.

Current trade negotiations underway

Current negotiations
Negotiations due to start
Ongoing WTO negotiations
TPPEuropean Union
Environmental Goods Agreement
RCEP (ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, India, NZ)
United Kingdom (negotiations to start 2019 once the UK leaves the EU)
Trade in Services Agreement
Hong Kong
WTO Government Procurement
Gulf Cooperation Council

Other recent FTA changes

Agreed but not in force
Recently entered into force
Under review
PACER Plus (Australia, NZ and Pacific Island Countries)
WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
- ChAFTA (Australia-China FTA)—services and investment only

Benefits of free trade agreements

FTAs try to maximise the economic benefits flowing to Australia from the negotiation of these agreements.

australia exports & ftas

  • FTAs improve free trade and create stronger ties with trading partners.
  • FTAs make Australian exports more competitive in the partner market and make Australia as an investment destination more attractive
  • Better trading opportunities
  • FTAs don’t just eliminate tariffs, they also address behind-the-border barriers that impede the flow of goods and services between parties, encourage investment, enhance cooperation, and can address other issues, such as intellectual property, e-commerce and government procurement.
  • FTAs can increase Australia’s productivity and contribute to higher GDP growth by allowing domestic businesses access to cheaper inputs, introducing new technologies, and fostering competition and innovation.

FTAs are very important for innovation to flourish in Australia and for Australian companies to become or remain competitive in today’s age of disruptive technologies and developments of industry 4.0.

Exporting overseas? Book a free 30 minute engagement session

2M Language Services is strongly involved in the Australian export industry, we offer export marketing services in addition to our translation and interpreting services. Contact us for more information or book a free 30 minute engagement session with one of our globalisation experts.


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